6 ways to become a headhunted employee

By Robert Half on 23 July 2015

There are few greater testaments to your professional prowess than receiving a phone call from a headhunter hoping to offer you a job. If you’re headhunted on behalf of a respected organisation, it’s a sign that you’re highly attractive to potential employers and that your efforts are paying off. For many people, however, becoming a headhunted employee rarely comes out of the blue. Often the employee needs to make their own luck in order to catch the eye of a business recruiter.

Here are some practical tips on how to get headhunted.

1. Attend networking events

If you want to make waves in your industry, it’s important you are seen. This means attending conferences and seminars, striking up genuine conversations with fellow attendees and connecting with industry leaders that may be speaking at the event. Ensure you have your business card at the ready and your name tag visible. Read our tips for effective corporate networking.

2. Supercharge your online presence

When it comes to seeking out a superstar candidate, most headhunters start their search online. Maintaining a sparkling LinkedIn profile that reflects your strengths and expertise as well an active professional Twitter account that showcases your interests and values can put you one step ahead of your rivals.

Whether it’s publishing blog posts that highlight your take on industry issues or compiling a website to showcase your successes, creating an online portfolio is the kind of professional asset that’s bound to catch a headhunter’s eye. If you want to raise your chances of being poached, it pays to retrace a headhunter’s steps. Type your name into Google and ensure the results convey a strong professional narrative.

3. Make a contribution

Remember that headhunters are seeking extraordinary professionals interested in making a contribution that’s bigger than themselves. Volunteering to speak at a conference, mentoring juniors in your organisation or moderating a forum around industry issues in your sector is proof that you are a leader and willing to go the extra mile in your industry.

4. Find an advocate

Headhunters often draw on the power of recommendation to find candidates to fill high-profile roles. Whether it’s cultivating a relationship with an industry expert or asking a former boss to vouch for your talent, finding someone to champion your career can help you land on a headhunter’s radar.

5. Excel at your job

All the strategy in the world is pointless if you don’t excel at your job. From volunteering to tackle a challenging project, to putting in the groundwork to land a lucrative client, you’re more likely to get headhunted if you pull out all the stops.

6. Accept invitations

When a headhunter does contact you, it is often tempting to say no to potential opportunities – particularly when you’re satisfied with your current job. However, accepting invitations to meet with headhunters or recruiters – even if you’re not ready to make a job switch – can set the stage for future offers once the timing is right. Ensure you leave a lasting impression and stay in contact with these people.

From polishing your online presence to finding someone who’s willing to champion your skills, there’s plenty you can do to spark a headhunter’s attention. What do you do to appeal to potential recruiters?

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